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This is the next installment of TPG Managing Editor Eric Rosen’s series on his month-long trip to Southeast Asia. Other posts include: Send in your Southeast Asia Tips, Flight Review: Lufthansa 747-400 First Class and Trip Report: Lufthansa First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2, Flight Review: Thai Airways A380 First Class, and Hotel Review: Park Hyatt Siem Reap. In this post, he visits another Park Hyatt, this one in Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon as it’s still known) and tells us about the three nights he spent there.
After a little beach time in Thailand, the next stop on my Asian trip was Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I got into the city around 10pm, so I just got a taxi to the hotel immediately, and it ran me about $9 and took about 20 minutes.
The lobby was still pretty busy at that hour since other travelers were arriving and the hotel’s iconic Park Lounge martini bar was still lively with folks out for a nightcap. Check-in took 2 minutes flat and my Platinum status with Hyatt was acknowledged immediately. I had booked a Standard Park King for two nights and requested a quiet, non-smoking room, which I reminded the check-in agent about and she said that she had that in her notes and the hotel had done its best to honor my request.
I had reserved a room for three nights for $230 per night and the rate included breakfast every day from 6:30-10:30am in the Opera restaurant right off the lobby. My stay would also put me over the 5-night mark for Hyatt’s fall promo, meaning a 5,000-point bonus was coming my way as well.
After she took down my passport and credit card details, she escorted me up to my room on the 6th floor and showed me all the amenities and details before taking her leave and wishing me a pleasant night.
Before doing anything, I rang up room service to get some dinner since I hadn’t eaten, and skipped over the usual room service items in favor of a stir-fried cashew chicken that sounded good and cost $12 – a bargain by room service standards (but not compared to the $2 street food I was to enjoy later in my visit). They said it would be 25 minutes, but it just took 15 and I was able to eat and relax for the rest of the evening in my room.
The Park Hyatt Saigon has 244 rooms and suites. I was in a standard, which measured up at just under 400 square feet, and as promised it was non-smoking and faced the pool area of the hotel so it was quieter than being on the street.
The bedroom had a king-size bed with white linens and a simple, classic-style light wood frame that matched the writing desk and the chest of drawers that held the minibar and the 40-inch LCD flatscreen TV. The room also had a yellow-upholstered armchair and ottoman next to the window.
The bathroom had a glassed-in marble shower-bath suite, a separate WC, and a single sink in a wood and black granite vanity. It was stocked with Miller Harris products. Like the rest of the room, it was spacious but felt a little dated.
That’s the other slightly unfortunate think about my visit. It came right before the hotel is scheduled to undergo a two-month renovation to the public areas and guest rooms. Instead of going more contemporary, though, the hotel apparently plans to go totally 17th-century over-the-top luxury. In any case, it does need an update, so I’m glad it’ll be getting one.
As I mentioned, my room rate included breakfast – both the full buffet and a hot a la carte item. The buffet was beautiful with tons of fresh fruit, pastries, yogurt, cold cuts, and more.
The first morning I just had scrambled eggs with prosciutto bacon, a potato rosti, mushroom and grilled tomato.
The second day, I had an eastern option – stir-fried glass noodles with crab, which was delicious. My third morning I was in a rush, so I just grabbed yogurt and fresh fruit.
I also got home early from dinner one evening, so I dropped by the Park Lounge martini bar and tried one of their specialties called a Limelight with Belvedere vodka, Grand Marnier, fresh lime juice and lemonade. It was refreshing and light but still packed a punch!
The third floor is where the hotel’s other amenities are located including the large swimming pool and sun lounging area, a little fitness center with all-new equipment and the three-room Xuan Spa, whose treatment rooms have terraces overlooking the garden, though I didn’t have time to try a treatment there.
All in all, though the hotel’s style needed a refresh, I had a great experience here. The staff was really great – there was always someone on hand to help with any questions, directions and suggestions (in a non-obsequious way), and everyone was extremely friendly, which made my whole stay really pleasant.
The hotel’s location was also very convenient – it’s right behind the Opera house and central to all the major sights, tons of great restaurants, and the main street of Le Loi where all the flagship fashion shops and department stores are, so it’s a good home base in the city for first-time visitors.
Just in case you’re wondering, the hotel is a member of Fine Hotels & Resorts where Amex Platinum cardholders will receive complimentary dinner for up to two people per room, excluding alcoholic beverages, taxes and gratuities, once during your stay. You’ll also get free breakfast, early check-in, late check-out and a room upgrade, and even better, since Hyatt considers FHR as a travel agent, you still earn points and elite credit on your stay. The hotel is also part of the Visa Signature Hotel collection, and benefits include a room upgrade upon arrival, free in-room Internet or valet parking, complimentary continental breakfast, late check-out, when available, VIP Guest status and a $25 food or beverage voucher.